- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Volunteers are needed to help state wildlife and fisheries agents cleanup and remove abandoned crab traps.

The state, in a news release Monday, said the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is teaming up with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program to conduct two cleanups this month as part of the NOAA Marine Debris Removal Program. Last year, crews retrieved more than 400 abandoned traps.

Volunteer boat owners are needed to help maximize trap collection and others are needed to help with unloading and stacking traps.

The first event is Feb. 13 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pelican Pointe Marina on Lake Pontchartrain. Volunteers are encouraged to register at https://lpbf.wufoo.com/forms/derelict-crab-trap-registration/

On Feb. 20 the cleanup will be in the Barataria Basin at Jean Lafitte Harbor. To register go to https://surveymonkey.com/r/F9C2L2G

In order to conduct the trap cleanups, licensed crab fishermen and seafood dealers were told to remove traps from within the closure areas during the closure period. Any remaining traps will be considered abandoned and may be removed during the events. For more information on the areas involved contact the department www.wlf.la.gov

Crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Use of traps will be prohibited in the following areas:

- Lake Pontchartrain: Beginning Friday, Feb. 12 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, Feb. 21 at 6 a.m.

- Barataria Basin: Beginning Friday, Feb. 19 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, Feb. 28 at 6 a.m.

- Sabine Lake: Beginning Friday, Feb. 19 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, Feb. 28 at 6 a.m.

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